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Mock Draft Podcast: Part I

by Matt Stroup
Updated On: March 25, 2021, 2:42 pm ET

The ground rules are simple. Matt Stroup hosts while Hayden Winks (odds) and Thor Nystrom (evens) rotate picks in a predictive mock draft with the goal being to get as many of these picks correct as possible, not what we would do if we were on the clock. Draft trades were made, but it was reserved just for quarterbacks.

Listen to Part I of the Mock Draft Podcast on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, wherever you find your podcasts — or in the embedded player at the bottom of this page.

Mock Draft Podcast Part II will be released next Thursday. A breakdown of the picks and takeaways from Hayden are below:


PICKS 1-16

1. Jaguars - QB Trevor Lawrence - It’s a lock, and JAX quietly has all five OL starters back.

2. Jets - QB Zach Wilson - There’s uncertainty around Sam Darnold, but the NFL likes Wilson.

3. Panthers (via MIA) - QB Justin Fields - Owner David Tepper wants to be aggressive at QB.

4. Broncos (via ATL) - QB Trey Lance - After retaining the defense, QB is by far the top need.

5. Bengals - OT Penei Sewell - Protecting Joe Burrow is the tie-breaker over Pitts or Chase.

6. Eagles - TE Kyle Pitts - Dallas Goedert is an inline TE. Pitts can operate in the slot or at X.

7. Lions - WR Ja’Marr Chase - Odds this is a WR are up after Goff’s iffy contract restructure.

8. Dolphins (via CAR) - WR Jaylen Waddle - More picks paired with a top-3 WR is a win-win.

9. Falcons (via DEN) - CB Patrick Surtain - Matt Ryan’s restructure means DEF > QB need.

10. Cowboys - CB Caleb Farley - Now could be falling due to medicals but a fit if healthy.

11. Giants - EDGE Azeez Ojulari - Edge rusher is a big need, and EDGE1 is up for grabs.

12. 49ers - WR DeVonta Smith - Not a need, but Smith is unlikely to fall much further than this.

13. Chargers - OT Rashawn Slater - Justin Herbert needs a LT and LG. Slater can fill either.

14. Vikings - OT Christian Darrisaw - Ideally Slater falls, but we live in an unideal world.

15. Patriots - QB Mac Jones - The cheap contract allows Belichick to craft the roster with vets.

16. Cardinals - CB Jaycee Horn - The outlier athlete fits perfectly into Arizona’s man scheme.


5 Takeaways from Winks

1. Both the Dolphins (No. 3) and Falcons (No. 4) appear committed to their current quarterbacks, and they should be able to cash in via the trade market with the Panthers (No. 8), Broncos (No. 9), 49ers (No. 12), and Patriots (No. 15) financially uncommitted to their starting signal callers. The Eagles (No. 6) and Lions (No. 7) provide just enough of a threat to make quarterback trade talks turn spicy.

2. The Dolphins (No. 3), Bengals (No. 5), Eagles (No. 6), and Giants (No. 7) seem to be fighting over the same five prospects: OT Penei Sewell, TE Kyle Pitts, WR Ja’Marr Chase, WR DeVonta Smith, and WR Jaylen Waddle. Like we had in the mock, it’s likely that just one of these prospects slide just outside the top-10, presumably one of the Alabama receivers.

3. The defensive line talent is lacking at the top. There was only one selected in the first half of Round 1 here, and Georgia EDGE Azeez Ojulari to the Giants at No. 11 overall was arguably the biggest reach of the podcast. Hopefully Pro Day numbers can provide clarity at how edge and defensive tackle will be stacked.

4. There are a few corner-needy teams just outside the top-10 picks (DAL, SF, LAC, NE, ARI), and there is a legit competition between the consensus top-four corners (Alabama’s Patrick Surtain, Virginia’s Caleb Farley, South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn, and Northwestern’s Greg Newsome). I expect Horn to surpass Farley, who is unfortunately undergoing back surgery before the upcoming draft.

5. The two most logical landing spots for Mac Jones are with the 49ers (No. 12) and Patriots (No. 15). Kyle Shanahan had success working with in-pocket passers Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins, and there’s a serious bond between Bill Belichick and Mac Jones. Both offenses already have talent on the roster, and Jones’ low cap hits can allow the front offices to retain their above-average defenses.

Listen to Part I of our Mock Draft Podcast right here:


Matt Stroup

Matt Stroup covers basketball, football and sometimes baseball for NBC Sports Edge — and has covered eight Olympics as a TV writer for NBC. An avid fantasy player and rabid Atlanta sports fan since the 1990s, he would golf, bowl and play pickup basketball 365 days a year if it was acceptable. You can follow him on Twitter @MattStroup